The Canada and Quebec should permeate all of their current trade negotiations, particularly with Europe, time to develop a more effective strategy for the protection of cultural diversity a moratorium, considers the contemporary economic Research Institute.
“By dint of negotiating without having a clear and effective strategy, Quebec and Canadian negotiators may create dangerous precedents,” observes a 44-page research report the IREC should reveal on Wednesday. “In pursuing its strategy, the Canada play the game of the United States without even negotiating with the Americans. […] Under current conditions, enter into any commercial agreement would be irresponsible from the point of view of the protection of the cultural heritage. »
The report portrays the efforts made for many years by the Canada and by other countries to protect their freedom of action for the protection and promotion of broadly defined culture. He noted that bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements took effect to force this freedom even when it was anticipated protection mechanisms, such as the Canada is thought to have obtained in its FTA with the United States.
Repeat the same error
The same scenario appears to be on track to repeat itself in the negotiations of the economic agreement and commercial global between the Canada and the European Union (CETA), currently underway and which directly involved Quebec, fears the author of the report, Alexander L. Maltese. Indeed, everything indicates that the two sides will adopt the same approach as that applied in the NAFTA. However, if U.S. cultural exports giant agrees to this method based on the establishment of exceptions to the General rules listed in schedules, said the researcher, it is because experience has shown that “the protection offered by the annexes is little effective and limited in time”.
The irony, says IREC, is it Canada (pushed by Quebec) and Europe (the France-driven) share officially the same attachment to this question, as evidenced by their accession to the Convention on cultural diversity by UNESCO, and argue the same desire to exclude their possible Treaty common commercial culture. Which does not mean that there is still agreement on about. Europe would like, for example, that removes any subsidy in the publishing sector.
The greatest danger, said Alexander l. Maltais, would be that, because of lack of imagination or clumsiness reliance on protection mechanisms that have already shown their serious limitations and that we thus lose a unique opportunity to influence the course of things in a better direction. “CETA will set an important precedent, he said in telephone interview to the duty. Do not repeat the same mistakes. These agreements are nearly impossible to reopen once concluded. »
The researcher considers, consequently, that the Canada should be impose a moratorium on all commercial negotiations until a better strategy is found on the protection of cultural heritage. If Ottawa does not listen to reason, Quebec should refuse to implement any new agreement that the Canada would sign and develop its own strategy of cultural protection. This strategy could be based on the combination of two defence mechanisms: the inclusion of cultural considerations in the preamble of any new trade agreement, as well as the insertion of a general cultural exception, not in schedule, but in the main body of the Treaty.
Think tank founded by Jacques Parizeau left in 1999, the IREC has already published other critical reports on CETA, including some based on texts of negotiations has been leaked.
Quebec under CETA’s Chief negotiator, Pierre Marc Johnson, explained, during a briefing there is ten days, that the debate on the cultural question was always “in progress” to the negotiating table. He reaffirmed the willingness of the two parties to arrive at an agreement that “body” to the principle of cultural exception is expressed in the UNESCO convention, including with respect to ‘the legitimacy of protection and subsidy’ culture.
He explained that was also an objective in the long term: establish a previous fort in preparation for the negotiations that will begin in Europe with a large and powerful opponent of the principle of cultural exception, the United States.
Companies in 2009, negotiations are continuing in Brussels this week, and are expected to be concluded before the end of the year. Presented as a ‘new generation’ trade treaty project, CETA focuses on a wide range of issues ranging for example, services to technical and sanitary standards, through public procurement, the protection of investors and intellectual property.
Recommendations sent to Jean-François Lisée
A group of unions and social movements responded Tuesday to the recent call for dialogue and the transparency of the new Québec Minister of International Relations and foreign trade, Jean-François Lisée, sending him an “initial” list of over a dozen recommendations for the Canada-Europe free trade negotiations. Quebec on continental integration (RQIC) network calls including that Crown corporations are excluded from the opening of public procurement opportunities, that we reject the idea of a mechanism of protection of foreign investors and ensuring compliance with standards Quebec pay equity including the companies European. They gave also questioned the idea that opening up public contracts to foreign competition could reduce the risks of corruption.